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Travellers challenged to find cheaper rates
World IT giant Intel has launched a trial travel programme where it travellers are challenged to find cheaper air fares.
The book your own experiment has been running for three months in the US for domestic travel only.
But the company is now considering expanding it to cover international trips.
Megan Stowe, Intel's global strategic sourcing manager, said the company decided on the idea last year after constant claims from some of its 25,000 travellers that they could get cheaper rates.
Ms Stowe said that a statistically valid number of traveller took part in the original trial, including the moaners, heavy road warriors and ordinary travellers.
The trial was confined to domestic trips in the US involving air, hotel and car rental bookings.
"They would send us their proposed itinerary and the rate they had got from the websites and we would compare them with our rates. The figures were very, very interesting," she said.
Ms Stowe was speaking at the executive forum of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) in London yesterday (November 20).
She told the 100 delegates that Intel's hotel rates were generally better than those found by the triallists while the car rental rates were a "no brainer - we have brilliant rates."
But on air rates Ms Stowe said she found that about 9% of the triallists were getting better fares.
These were mainly from the West Coast who were using a dominant low cost carrier in the region which has now been added to Intel's preferred airlines.
"We have now been doing the trial for about three months but we have not had data back on the uptake but my gut feeling is that it is no more thasn norma leakage and no mor ethasn normal compliance.
"We are now looking to extend it to international travel but then different factors will come into play, like the need for visas in China and visiting countries which have strict corporate manslaughter laws," she said.
"I think it has been worth doing, even if it comes back saying we have the best fares. From any experiment you can learn something.
"I did not think senior management would implement it. My attitude is to keep the best fares and keep the travellers quiet.
"If they say they can get better fares, now we cansay inthe US domestic programme ‘Go out and do it.'"
Ms Stowe said so far the new policy had not saved much money. She thought over a longer period there might be some savings "but I don't see millions of dollars."
But Ms Stowe admitted that the one travel management company (TMC) which Intel uses "hated" the concept. The TMC was not named.
"They really did not like us. For a little while they got proactive saying 'We could get better fares than this'. They acted like an agency, not a TMC.
"Now they say they could look at matching the fares. Why could they not have done this at the start?
Ms Stowe said the policy was about giving the travellers "the option to do what they want to do so they don't feel they are being driven."